The Walter Cronkite School was recently renewed full accreditation as a journalism school following its evaluation by an accreditation council in early February.
The Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communication evaluated the Cronkite School’s performance over the past six years after the school nearly received provisional accreditation instead of full accreditation after failing to meet two of the nine total accreditation standards — governance and diversity — in 2005.
This year, however, the school met all of the nine standards exceptionally well, according to Cronkite School Associate Dean Kristin Gilger.
“It felt like a reward and acknowledgement of all the work we’ve done in the past six years,” Gilger said. “The accreditation is a long, arduous process. There’s a lot of work that goes into it.”
Although the Cronkite School met all of the standards, Gilger recognized that there is always room for improvement.
“There’s a lot of things we’re working on,” she said. “We need to continue working on diversity.”
Even though Gilger said that diversity is an area that can be improved, she said the Cronkite School has made great strides in this standard with the addition of the Diversity and Ethics class to the curriculum.
Additionally, the Cronkite School is working on developing the public-relations lab, which is set to open this fall and will offer a capstone for public relations students.
A part of the accreditation process included the committee meeting with students from each specialization and asking for input about what improvements can be made.
Senior journalism student Cassidy Olson, who is specializing in public relations, went to a meeting held by the accreditation committee for students within her specialization, during which she and others recommended the Cronkite School offer more public-relations classes.
“We’re the less-developed group,” Olson said. “But I know that’s kind of changing with the PR lab opening in the fall.”
Journalism sophomore Molly Smith, who is specializing in print, attended a meeting held for print and digital students. Smith said that the Cronkite School still had room to grow and suggested the addition of more photojournalism classes because that’s her main interest.
“I can’t really be a photojournalism student because there really isn’t a photojournalism specialization,” Smith said. “I wish there were more options for photo kids.”
However, while both Smith and Olson made recommendations for ways to improve the Cronkite School, both agree that it offers a great education.
“Our facilities are top notch,” Olson said. “It’s also really great to have professors who have worked in the field and have done what you’ll hopefully do in the future.”
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